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Explaining It to Grandma:
Turning What You Learn into Something to Teach
Learning and Technology
Tony Vincent is a former
fifth-grade teacher who used
online and mobile tools with
his students daily. Today, Tony
works as an independent
consultant, speaking at
conferences and leading
workshops at schools.
lthough great websites and apps deliver content, I think the
best use of technology in education is to make something
with what you’re learning. This might include producing a video,
writing a blog post, recording a puppet show, creating a collage,
narrating a slideshow, designing a comic book, or somehow making your
own media and study aids.
Albert Einstein said, “You do not really understand something unless you
can explain it to your grandmother.” Technology gives us many avenues
for explaining our learning. It also can give us an audience, whether that
audience is a grandmother, a friend, or a stranger. What’s more, technology
often allows for the audience to provide feedback to the learner.
Yes, there are loads of drill and skill apps, digital books, and electronic
response systems that can be useful in classrooms. What’s more exciting to
me are apps that empower students to be creative and expressive.
The best use of technology
in education is to make
something with what
avenues for explaining
Process what you’re
learning, and turn it into
something to teach others.
It’s powerful to process what you’re learning and turn it into something to
teach others. As a fifth-grade teacher, I had groups of students focus on
different topics. Each group was responsible for teaching the rest of the
class what they learned. I believe in giving students choices in how they
convey information, so there was always a variety of learning artifacts.
My students enjoyed learning by teaching others. They loved using technology. As learners, it just makes sense to use technology to help ourselves
and others understand what we’re learning.
“The best use of technology in education is to
make something with what you’re learning.”
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